By Publius Huldah
The “Convention of States” (COS) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page contains 989 words – none of them true – except for these which appear in the first paragraph:
“The federal government is spending this country into the ground … It’s time American citizens took a stand and made a legitimate effort to curb the power … of the federal government.”
In my last paper, I showed how our Constitution itemizes what Congress is authorized to spend money on; and that we have a $17 trillion debt because everyone ignores the limits the Constitution places on Congress’ spending powers.
To curb the federal government, We must do things we have neglected for over 100 years: Reclaim our role as “the natural guardians of the Constitution”; 1 learn our Founding Principles & Documents; enforce them with nullification and by rejecting candidates who don’t know them by heart; stop relying on politicians to handle things; 2 reclaim personal responsibility; and get ready for a rocky road ahead.
But the “convention of states” conspirators 3 say the only solution is a convention to “propose amendments” to the Constitution. They tell lies about nullification – the one remedy our Framers actually advised when the feds usurp powers. They say our Constitution is the problem. They say it contains “loopholes and vague phraseology” which politicians exploit. They suggest the States are victims of federal tyranny; are the ones to “fix” our Constitution; and that the States call and control the convention. They say it is impossible for the convention to force a new Constitution down our throats. But I submit that is precisely what they intend to do.
Jordan Sillars, Communications Director for COS, let the cat out of the bag when he said:
“… 3. I think the majority of Americans are too lazy to elect honest politicians. But I think some men and women could be found who are morally and intellectually capable of re-writing the Constitution…” [boldface mine].
Contrary to what the conspirators say, there is no way to stop the convention from “running away”: All the delegates need do is come up with a new Constitution. It can provide for any method of ratification they want.
That is what happened in 1787 when the Continental Congress called a convention “for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation”. 4 The delegates ignored their instructions and wrote an entirely new Constitution with its own new method of ratification.
The Conspirators’ Campaign of Propaganda against The People
The conspirators’ claims spit in the Face of Facts and Reality. So how have they been able to convince people to believe their claims; and go along with their destructive scheme?
They are exploiting the ignorance and desperation of The People by manipulating them with propaganda. Their FAQ’s employ nine well known techniques of propaganda: 5
• Assume the Major Premise
Assume the Major Premises
• Appeal to Desperation
• Claim there is a Panacea
• Repetition for Emphasis
• The Big Lie
• Fabricated Legal Principles & Precedent [“Imaginary Evidence”]
• Exploit Wishful Thinking
• The Self-sell.
Throughout the FAQs, it is assumed that:
1. The purpose of amendments is to control the federal government;
2. Our Constitution is defective;
3. That there is such a thing as a “convention of states” which States call and control;
4. States will protect us from the federal government; and
5. The federal government will obey amendments to the Constitution.
These are the five major assumptions upon which their scam is constructed. They don’t prove them – they know many will blindly accept them. Only thoughtful people examine assumptions.
But you can become a “thoughtful person” if you will start examining what you are told.
Their first major premise: The Truth is two (2) delegates at the Federal Convention of 1787 (Mason & Randolph) wanted States to be able to amend the Constitution without involvement of Congress. The conspirators’ crazy and dishonest claim that the purpose of amendments is to control the federal government is based on Mason’s & Randolph’s comments you can find here. Theirs was the minority view; Art. V provides for Congress’ involvement in both methods of amendment; and Mason & Randolph objected so much to our Constitution they refused to sign it.
Our Framers at the Federal Convention of 1787 understood that the purpose of amendments is to remedy defects in the Constitution [slavery]; and that the novelty and difficulty of what they were doing would require periodic revision [the 11th, 12th, & 27th amendments]. Hamilton said in Federalist No. 85 (13th para) that useful amendments would address the “organization of the government, not … the mass of its powers”. Madison said in Federalist No. 43 (at 8.) that “useful alterations will be suggested by experience.”
People are deceived by the conspirators’ first premise because they don’t understand that our Constitution created a federal government of strictly limited and defined – enumerated – powers. Everything the feds have authority to do is itemized in our Constitution. Does our Constitution delegate to the feds power to ban incandescent light bulbs, determine portion sizes of school lunches, and force us into obamacare? No! So what do you do when the feds usurp powers over such objects? Amend the Constitution? Really? How would you amend the Constitution to fix such usurpations? Make an Amendment saying the feds can’t regulate light bulbs? And so on for every power they usurp?
It is crazy to say the purpose of amendments is to control the federal government. When the feds usurp powers not delegated, no amendment saying they can’t do what they did will restrain them. They violated the Constitution when they usurped the power in the first place!
Furthermore, the amendments they write don’t restrict the feds: Michael Farris’ “parental rights amendment” delegates power over children to the federal and state governments, and empowers judges to determine the extent of that power! One of Randy Barnett’s amendments gives the feds lawful power over “harmful emissions” [EPA now exercises usurped powers], and power “to define and provide for punishment of offenses constituting acts of war or violent insurrection against the United States” [read that again!]. Mark Levin’s amendments also increase the powers of the feds by legalizing powers they have usurped. His “override” amendments remove the Constitution as the standard of what is lawful and what is not, and substitute majority vote. Yet the conspirators say such amendments would curb the federal government!
But we must not be distracted by proposed amendments. Their amendments are most likely a pretext to get a “convention” so they can carry out their plot to replace our Constitution.
Their second major premise: Our Constitution is the cause of our problems.
Except for some of the existing Amendments Americans already got manipulated into supporting, what is wrong with our Constitution? For the most part, it is easy to understand. For phrases federal judges have perverted – such as the “interstate commerce”, “general welfare”, & “necessary and proper” clauses, a quick look into The Federalist Papers usually reveals the original intent. I illustrate that here and in many other papers.
This one page chart illustrates the structure of our federal system and the enumerated powers delegated to the federal government. What needs “fixing”? We are in our present mess because for 100 years, we elected & re-elected politicians to federal and state office who ignore it.
All our Constitution wants is (1) to be learned & obeyed; and (2) to have repealed some of the existing Amendments. Repeal those the same way we repealed the 18th Amendment. We don’t need a “convention” for that. Instead of sending ignorant phonies to Congress; send people who know the Constitution [make them pass tests before you support them] and commit to repealing the 17th Amendment and other ill-considered Amendments.
Their third major premise: That there is such a thing as a “convention of states”: The FAQs say “Article V, Section 2 of the Constitution” gives state legislatures the power to call a convention; that Federalist No. 85 says Congress has “no control over the delegates”; that “Virginia called the Philadelphia Convention of 1787”; and that “Basic common sense” and “Agency law 101” says “Each state chooses its own delegates”.
Those claims are truly bizarre.
Read Art. V: There is no “Section 2”. Article V says Congress calls the convention – not state legislatures. All state legislatures can do is apply to Congress for Congress to call it.
Federalist No. 85 says Congress must call a convention when two-thirds of the States apply for it. Hamilton does not say Congress has “no control over the delegates”! 6
Virginia did not “call” the Philadelphia Convention of 1787! The Continental Congress did. Their Resolution calling the 1787 convention, pursuant to Art. 13 of The Articles of Confederation, is quoted at endnote 4. And when the Continental Congress called the 1787 convention, they specifically provided that delegates would be appointed by the States. 4
But Art. I, Sec. 8, last clause, of our Constitution delegates to Congress power to make all laws necessary and proper to carry out the powers vested in it by Art. V. So Congress has the power to organize the convention, appoint the chairman and delegates, etc. The Mason & Randolph view was rejected. And the clear words of our Constitution cannot be changed by some ignorant person’s subjective conceptions of “common sense” and “Agency law 101”!
Their fourth major premise: That States are victims of federal tyranny and will rein in the federal government given the opportunity at a convention.
But look at what States have done. They have acquiesced in federal usurpations in exchange for federal funds. The States adopted unconstitutional federal education schemes such as “race to the top” and common core for the federal grant money.
DHS is becoming America’s equivalent of the East German STASI and Soviet KGB. With the connivance of State governments, DHS is taking over local & State law enforcement. And read about the fusion centers in every State – the States acquiesced!
John Barnes shows that State governments no longer focus on managing “a relatively self-contained polis”, but on “siphoning as much money as possible from the federal government”; and that “state government is becoming a mere pass-through for federal funds and an apparatus of federal policy.” Barnes shows us how State governments all over the Country are bloated with bureaucrats whose job is to “maximize federal funding”.
Google “maximize federal funding” – you will see. No rational person can believe that the politicians in the States – who are the ones who sold us to the feds in the first place – are the ones to rescue us from the feds. If the States wanted to, they could rein in the feds right now by using the remedy our Framers really did advise: Nullification.
Their fifth major premise: That the federal government will obey amendments.
But think! The feds continually violate the Constitution we have. They exercise thousands of usurped powers.
The conspirators insist the feds would obey future amendments because the feds haven’t violated recent amendments, such as women’s suffrage. Well, of course not! Of the 15 amendments ratified since the 12th in 1804; 10 increased the powers of the feds (13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 23rd, 24th, 26th); 7 and 4 were “housekeeping” amendments (20th, 22nd, 25th, 27th).
Do you see?
Appeal to Desperation
The gist of this propaganda technique is to argue that we must do something – we can’t do nothing – so let’s do what I propose. And we better do it “before it is too late”.
Many Americans are in a panic over the rapidity with which Obama – with the connivance of the Republican and Democrat parties and the State governments – is setting up a national totalitarian police state.
But we mustn’t allow the conspirators to exploit our desperation so as to induce us into surrendering our Constitution. All Americans who have fallen for the conspirators’ scam have been manipulated by THIS technique.
We have effective options. We have failed to gain the knowledge which would enable us to be the Sovereigns we are supposed to be. We have contented ourselves with blind faith in talk show hosts, politicians, and other charlatans. We are what needs fixing.
Claim there is a Panacea
With this, you claim that what you are offering is a magical cure for all the problems.
The conspirators say all we have to do to fix our problems is have a “convention of states”. They say they will propose amendments to the Constitution, and the federal government will be “fixed”. They ignore the facts that everyone has ignored the Constitution we have; that it was the States who sold us out in the first place; and that We The People kept reelecting ignorant & glib politicians who violate the Constitution to state & federal office.
There is no such thing as a panacea. We have a long road ahead of us to fix the problems We caused by our own folly, ignorance, and laziness.
Repetition for Emphasis
With this, you drive home a few simple and unproven points by repeating them over and over until the public believes them.
The five major premises listed above are repeated over & over & over & over & over. People believe them because they have been programed to believe them.
Orange quotes Adolf Hitler:
“It [propaganda] must repeat those points over and over again until the public believes it. The principles behind propaganda are the same principles of mind control, hypnotic suggestion, and mental programming: distraction and repetition. With propaganda, distraction draws attention away from information that is true and directs attention to information that is false. Repetition of the false information imbeds it in your subconscious mind so that your acceptance of its truth becomes a conditioned response. You accept this information as true without thinking whenever it is presented to you again.”
This is why most of mankind has lived under tyranny. People will believe anything if they hear it enough. Folks! You better start facing Reality and taking charge of what you believe.
The Big Lie
The gist of this is to:
“…keep repeating the same lie[s] over and over, in spite of all arguments and evidence to the contrary, until people believe it. Massive repetition is essential.”
It has already been proved by this and other writers that everything the conspirators say about nullification and a “convention” is false. But they keep repeating it. Why? Because massive repetition of lies will induce people to believe them.
Fabricated Legal Principles & Precedent [“Imaginary Evidence”]
The FAQs make various assertions about how this “convention of states” would operate, such as:
• “The applications must request a convention of states for the same subject matter” or “same issue”;
• “States are free to develop their own selection process for choosing their delegates… each state has one vote at the convention.”
The FAQs say this reflects “widely accepted” “procedures and rules” Rob Natelson found during his “extensive research”, which were followed in the “interstate conventions” which “were common” during “the Founding Era”.
Folks! If these customs existed and established binding precedent on the Congress we created when we ratified our Constitution, why did James Madison not know about them? During the Federal Convention of 1787, Madison said, respecting Article V:
September 10, 1787: Mr. Madison remarked on the vagueness of the terms, “call a Convention for the purpose”, as sufficient reason for reconsidering the article. “How was a Convention to be formed? – by what rule decide? – what the force of its acts?”
September 15, 1787: Mr. Madison did not see why Congress would not be as much bound to propose amendments applied for by two-thirds of the States, as to call a Convention on the like application. He saw no objection, however, against providing for a Convention for the purpose of amendments, except only that difficulties might arise as to the form, the quorum, &c., which in constitutional regulations ought to be as much as possible avoided.
Do you see? And don’t forget: Article V says Congress calls the convention; and Art. I, Sec. 8, last clause, delegates to Congress power to make laws needed to execute the powers vested in it by Article V. This constitutional provision supersedes any “customs” to the contrary.
The gist of this technique is to:
“Reduce the issue to a few simple sentences that any blithering idiot can understand. Leave out all the complicated facts and confounding factors. Reduce the debate to just a few simple-minded sentences and slogans. Reduce complex multi-faceted issues to simplistic statements that can be expressed in a short sound bite.”
Aren’t the FAQs a few simple concepts any blithering idiot can understand?
Exploit Wishful Thinking
It is this and other writers who point out the “complicated facts”. Are we too stupid to be free?
With this technique, you tell people what they want to hear, rather than the unpleasant truths.
The conspirators are offering an easy way out which satisfies a deep yearning: to feel good. We don’t have to accept responsibility for our own failures to become a “natural guardian of the Constitution”; we are encouraged to blame shift and see the Constitution as the cause of our problems; and we don’t have to trouble ourselves to actually learn our Founding Principles & Documents. All we have to do is join the conspirators. And then, everything will be wonderful.
This technique gets people to convince themselves of your ideas by asking for their help in promoting your ideas. “They will sell themselves on the idea as they try to sell it to others.”
Orange gives this example of the Self-sell: In “Cold Turkey”, Dick Van Dyke plays a preacher who wants everyone in his town to quit smoking. He got the local Neo-Nazis to quit by enlisting them as “smoking-ban enforcers”.
The conspirators want to build a “grassroots operation” of volunteers to sell their scheme to State legislators [the ones who already sold us to the feds for federal funds.] And we have seen these volunteers’ mindless comments on the internet as they regurgitate the talking points in the FAQs – they sell themselves as they try to sell to others. 8
You better wise up now. Study this chart. Flesh it out with your readings of our Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Have study groups. What Hamilton asked you to be is not hard.
1 Our Framers never saw courts as the final authority. See James Madison Rebukes Nullification Deniers. Hamilton expected us to be “a people enlightened enough to distinguish between a legal exercise and an illegal usurpation of authority” (Federalist No. 16, next to last para).
2 Politicians are as ignorant as those who elect them. But we want a savior who will rescue us without any effort on our part. So we look to politicians to save us. They always betray us; and we are presented with still another phony who says what we want to hear, whom we support, and who betrays us. This happens because we don’t know our Constitution, and thus can’t evaluate the politicians. If WE knew our Constitution, those smooth-talking ignoramuses wouldn’t have a chance of getting elected. You would see right through them.
3 Progressives & phony “conservatives” have worked hand in hand for many years to replace our Constitution. See Richard D. Fry, “Convention of States”: The Wrong Solution to the Wrong Problem.
4 The conspirators tell the brazen lie that the convention “cannot throw out the Constitution because it derives its authority from the Constitution.” Rubbish! Pursuant to Article XIII of The Articles of Confederation, the Continental Congress resolved on February 21, 1787 (p 71-74):
“Resolved that in the opinion of Congress it is expedient that on the second Monday in May next a Convention of delegates who shall have been appointed by the several states be held at Philadelphia for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation and reporting to Congress and the several legislatures such alterations and provisions therein as shall when agreed to in Congress and confirmed by the states render the federal constitution adequate to the exigencies of Government & the preservation of the Union.” [emphasis mine]
The delegates ignored these limitations and wrote a new Constitution with a new method of ratification. It is impossible to stop this from happening at another convention. And George Washington, James Madison, Ben Franklin, and Alexander Hamilton won’t be there.
The conspirators also say a “Constitutional Convention” is safe because no amendment will be passed which is not ratified by ¾ of the States. This is deceptive because the concern is about a runaway convention & a new Constitution – not amendments. Since a new Constitution can have any method of ratification the delegates want, it can be forced on us.
5 See Propaganda and Debating Techniques by A. Orange. Orange is a “librul”, and on a vendetta against AA. But he understands how scoundrels use propaganda to deceive the unthinking. See how Adolf Hitler used these same techniques to manipulate the German People.
6 I addressed this same lie in “Mark Levin Refuted: Keep the Feds in Check with Nullification, not Amendments!” under the subheading, “What Levin Claims Article V Says”. Congress’ lack of discretion is limited to the issue of “to call or not to call” a convention once the requisite number of States has applied for it. After Congress “calls” the convention, Art. I, Sec. 8, last clause kicks in to empower Congress to make all laws necessary to carry out the call.
7 The result of the voting amendments (15th, 19th, 24th, 26th) was to transfer the power of determining voter qualifications from the States (Art. I, Sec. 2, cl.1) to the federal government.
It was necessary to amend the Constitution to remedy the defects which permitted slavery; but the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments delegated powers over the States to the federal government. It would have been better to merely repeal the provisions at Art. I, Sec. 2, cl.3 which provided for a partial counting of slaves; and Art. IV, Sec. 2, cl. 3 which permitted Congress to make laws against fugitive slaves. And if the States had been wise instead of foolish, they would have banned slavery and extended citizenship & civil rights to freed slaves on their own, and provided the education to help them make the transition from slave to citizen. Stupidity and wickedness are not cheap, Folks. And Amendments are a very tricky business.
8 There is nothing wrong with asking others to help promote ideas – when the ideas are True and Good. But when the ideas are destructive and false, the self-sell is immoral manipulation. PH